Public relations professionals of all ages and stripes gathered to learn from their colleagues at the WWPR Executive Communicators Committee’s Summer Idea Swap, held August 3rd at Hager Sharp. The panelists – Cecilia Sepp, a consultant and writer, CS Association Services; Markette Smith, DC on Heels blogger and founder of multimedia production house Eagle Rock Interactive, and Arlene Hill, director of the career development center at American University’s Kogod School of Business – offered tips on a range of topics that perennially appear on people’s lists of top challenges, including time management and doing more with limited resources.

WWPR Idea Swap

Kim Ash, WWPR Executive Communicators Chair, Markette Smith, Eagle Rock Interactive, Cecilia Sepp, CS Association Services, Arlene Hill, American University’s Kogod School of Business, Kendra Kojcsich, WWPR President

Members of the audience shared their favorite strategies, as well as anecdotes illustrating the pitfalls of failing to follow their own advice (one woman admitted she was so busy rushing and multitasking one day that she didn’t realize she was shoeless until she was a block away from her meeting).

Some favorite time-management strategies included pausing to take deep breaths, saying no to more requests, and avoiding perfectionism by knowing which projects are worth the extra effort and which ones merit only a “good enough” job. One woman recommended scheduling tasks for times when you’re most productive at that specific thing (she does some of her most focused writing during bouts of insomnia).  Several people recommended coping with long-winded clients by politely but firmly setting expectations up front (i.e. “Just to let you know, I have a hard stop at 4pm.”).

A number of women shared their favorite quotes, including “Don’t get it right, get it written,“ and “Don’t panic, do something.”

Tips for doing more with less included bartering for goods or services with small or new companies, and using interns. Other popular discussions centered around the best times to call people or use social media (Thursdays before 10:30am apparently being the optimal time to share things on Facebook, before people head off to meetings) and the reluctance of the millennial generation to use telephones (coaching sessions help).

Do you have any ideas to share on being more productive? We hope to see you at the next idea swap.